Saturday, November 19, 2016

Violence is Never in the Interest of Rational Actors

I am not sure this is true.  I am chewing on it.

I know that sometimes rational actors will have to be violent to protect themselves from irrational actors.

But I don't think two rational actors ever need to resort to violence to settle their differences.

I take it as given that long-term survival is a premise of rationality, for societies if not for each individual in it.  So rational societies in a world of rational societies know that violence for short-term gain will not make sense if it leads to retaliatory violence or other sanctions.

In societies as in individuals, "self-interest" and "selfish interest" are not the same thing.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Encourage Black Women to Run

Melissa Harris Perry gave an impassioned speech to the American Anthropological Association that ended with her repeating "Where are my black girl leaders?  Where are my black girl leaders?  Where are my black girl leaders?"

She argued that Donald Trump was elected by white women - most of whom almost always vote Republican.  By contrast, black women turned out for Hillary Clinton, and were the only group to turn out at the same (high) rate for Hillary Clinton as they had for Barack Obama.

She made the point that black women are rarely encouraged to run for office themselves.  The black women in office often came to the role unexpectedly, indirectly, or through a male relative's election.  She argues that we should systematically encourage black women to run for office, at all levels, and in their own right.

This strikes me as a good idea.

Black women among my students, past and present, prepare for a discussion about your social duty and civic capability. :-)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Hope Is a Thing You Have, Not Something You Are Given

Wendell Berry, Kentucky's leading intellectual, spoke at Centre College.

He was asked by an audience member for words of hope.

Berry considered this for a moment.

Then he said: "I don't have any.  Hope is a virtue that you are just supposed to have. So get it up!"